Jimmy Barnes has discussed his grief following the death of good friend Michael Gudinski in a heartbreaking interview – and nearly had a reporter in tears while doing so.
Speaking to Sunrise reporter Edwina Bartholomew about his emotional performance of ‘Flesh and Blood’ at the state funeral for the Mushroom Records founder in March, the 65-year-old Cold Chisel frontman had the usually bubbly reporter holding back tears as he spoke about the touching tribute.
Speaking of his close friendship with the music industry giant, the ‘Working Class Man’ singer explained: “He’s a huge loss… he’s a godfather to my children.”
“I can’t rub Michael’s phone number off my favourites in my phone, because if anybody is going to call me from the other life it will be Michael,” Barnes said as Bartholomew’s lip visibly began to quiver in emotion.
Gudinski died in his sleep on March 2 at the age of 68, with Jimmy dedicating his latest track to the ‘father of the Australian music industry’.
He was laid to rest in a private funeral that took place on March 10, with a state memorial held in Melbourne on March 24. During the service, Barnsey described him as his ‘hero’ and called him ‘one of a kind’.
The memorial service was held at Rod Laver Arena, with Barnes performing two songs, and fellow Australian icons Kylie Minogue and Paul Kelly also performing tracks in tribute to Gudinski. International star Ed Sheeran also flew in especially for the funeral, in which he also performed.
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Sheeran had previously tried to express his depth of feeling in an Instagram post upon Gudinski’s passing. “It’s so hard to put into words how much Michael meant to me, and to all of us who knew him,” he said.
Michael was a tornado of joy. You would know he arrived in the building just by hearing the chaotic bark of his, and you could feel the room get excited about the arrival of his presence.”
He continued: “We were, first and foremost, friends. He was a father figure and mentor to me, but also we enjoyed the peaks of our touring career together in 2018, breaking the record for most tickets sold in Australia.”
Sheeran then proved just how true these feelings were for his promoter and friend as he flew into Australia to ensure he was at tonight’s memorial service. It meant that the singer had to spend two weeks in quarantine in Sydney. “I know it’s a difficult thing to get into this country and I don’t take it for granted either,” he said nervously as he took to the stage.
Tributes to the industry icon from the likes of Neil Young, Paul McCartney, Elton John, and Billy Joel were also displayed on the screen, emphasising the immensity of Gudinski’s impact on music.